Friday, September 9, 2011

Lunch Date

Lunch Date

It was Tuesday. That meant today’s special was shepherds pie. And shepherds pie guaranteed he’d be in for lunch.

Amanda Fischer wrapped an apron around her waist, pinned her name badge on her uniform, checked her appearance in the reflection of the pastry case. She walked the length of the front counter, topping up coffee cups.

“How are you today, Mr. Wendel?”

“I’d be better if you’d marry me.” This was Roger Wendel’s usual response.

“After fifty years of marriage, your wife would hunt me down if I snatched you away from her.”

Roger Wendel laughed, a loud barking snort that made Amanda smile. “You have that right.”

“I’ll have to ask her what her secret was to catch such a wonderful man.”

The elderly man waved her off, his cheeks crimson.

She was aware the moment Jason Everette walked in the door. Every woman in town was aware of him. Intense eyes, so dark it was difficult to distinguish the pupils, watched as though they could see right through you. It made a girl feel needy, thought Amanda, and just a little reckless.

Jason sat down at the counter next to Roger Wendel and pulled a laminated menu from the metal rack, pretended to read. He knew what he wanted, the reason he came for lunch every Tuesday—and most other days. It wasn’t the shepherds pie.

“The usual?” Amanda set a cup in front of him, poured coffee. She moved the sugar out of the way, knowing he took it black.

Jason’s lopsided grin brought out the dimple in his left cheek. It always made her heart hitch. “Am I that predictable?”

“A little.” Wasn’t it cute how his ears went pink when he blushed? “You’ve been coming in here for three weeks now. It doesn’t take long to notice a pattern.”

“I don’t like cooking for myself. It’s…” he moved a shoulder, an agitated gestured “…lonely.”

Roger Wendel made a show of clearing his throat. “A smart man would ask a woman over for dinner.” He stared at a point above the pastry case, speaking, it appeared, to no one in particular. “A smarter man would ask her to bring her famous apple crumble.” Roger slapped a few bills on the counter before leaving. “Just sayin’.”

The hollow in Jason’s cheek deepened. “Well?”

Outside, Amanda was calm, elegant. “Is seven ok?” Inside, she did the first-date dance.


glnroz said...

,,, you have a "nack",,,

Monica Manning said...

glnroz: What would I do without you to stroke my ego?

Francine Howarth said...

Hi, and welcome to RFW!

Oh nice one. Sharp, witty and enough whiff of romance in the air to clinch it a romantic piece!

So loved, “A smarter man would ask her to bring her famous apple crumble.” ;)


Beverly Diehl said...

I love the repartee between Amanda and her long-time customer - it sets us up to like her. Just beware of too much third person action in the future. You've made Mr. Wendel SO charming & interesting, he almost hijacks the piece.

Interesting way to describe her reaction to his eyes. Needy, and just a little reckless.

You change POV in the paragraph "Jason sat down..." IMO, it's a stronger piece if you stay all in Amanda's head.

Love her doing the first date dance - on the inside. Really, really like the whole thing. :-)

L'Aussie said...

Hi Monica! Woo hoo! It's great to hear a new voice to add to the already wonderful voices we hear each week. Loved your piece. Took me right there. Your characterisation is spot on. Made me like everyone, especially the old guy. Probably what Beverly says is spot on, he does quite take over the story, but sometimes minor characters do this. I'd just say, remember to show don't tell. You already showed us her guy was nervous so you didn't have to say: an agitated gesture(d.

Great entry. Hope you enjoy reading the other stories this week.


J.L. Campbell said...

Nice set up and your girl seemed to know from the outset that the guy liked her as well. You have to like a girl who can make a mature man like Mr. Wendel feel special.

Monica Manning said...

Beverly Diehl: Thank you for your insight. I did consider ending the exchange with Roger Wendel at the marriage proposal. The longer version would likely work better in a novel where other characters factor into the storyline. I have a terrible habit of flipping POV, and need to pay more attention to that. Again, it’s something that works best in a longer piece where I can note a break to show the change.

Monica Manning said...

Francine Howarth: Thanks. I waitressed at a diner way back in the day. I met some interesting characters.

Monica Manning said...

L’Aussie: I tend to run on, don’t I? I’ll try to remember to keep it simple. Don’t hesitate to keep me in check if I do it again (and we both know I will).

Monica Manning said...

J.L. Campbell: My eighty-something father-in-law is a practiced flirt. You should see him in action. The Roger Wendels of the world don’t need us to make them feel good. We feel good making them blush.

Anna said...

Dear Monica,

Nice to meet you! I like your text and I agree with the advice that Beverly, Francine and Denice have already given you, so I won't try to tell you what you already know. (I agree with J.L. Campbell's comment too.)

I too have worked as a waitress, and your text feels authentic and has atmosphere.

Hope to read more of your stories in the coming weeks.

Best wishes,
Anna's RFW No. 18 'Lunch Date'

'Anna' has been a pen name for me too. I have only recently made it legally one of my first names. I know all about names that people can't pronounce! 'Manning' is a good choice. I'd love to have 'Monica Manning' as one of my characters in my novel.

Kiru Taye said...

I like this. You led us into it gently, heightening the anticipation. Nice one.

Madeleine said...

Oh this is wonderful BRAVO! I love it I've done a belated entry :O)

Ms. Queenly said...

Aw, cute! With a perfect flow. I love Roger's prodding. ~MsQ

jaerose said...

I like that little dance..Jae :)

Heather said...

I don't know why a first-date dance would never occur to me. I quite literally laughed out loud when I read it, much to the bemusement of my children.

Thank you for the moment.... and for your kind comments on my blog regardless of my long absences.